Day 5: 7 Pieces of Advice

5/30 – Give 7 pieces of advice to a college graduate:

  1. I’m a moron and I didn’t even finish college, so don’t take my advice. But of that same token: listen to people who have done what you want. See what they’re glad they did. Hear about their mistakes…But at the end of the day, just go out and do shit. Jump into the pool with a blindfold on. Make crazy mistakes so you can learn as quickly as you can. School teaches you theory, not action. Take action. Fail. Then move forward.
  2. Bite the bullet and learn all the boring intricacies about personal finance. Build budgeting into your habits so you can eliminate the anxiety of paying your bills and debts. Save and give yourself an awesome cushion in case a pandemic hits, you lose your job, or some surprise expense comes up.
  3. If you have some sort of dream–even if you don’t want it to be your full-time job–fucking do it. Always wanted to be an actor? Audition for a local theatre. Want to try standup comedy? Get your ass up and do a 5 minute open mic. Want to start a podcast/YouTube channel/blog? Sit down, start recording, start typing, and click upload. You don’t have to be the next [insert the best person at your thing here] to get a ton of fulfillment out of pursuing things you’re passionate about. You’ll grow as a person and learn that you can set goals and accomplish things you want.
  4. It blows my mind how many adults do absolutely zero exercise ever. For the love of God, you don’t have to do crossfit 7 days a week or go vegan for the rest of your life…but work out at least 3 times per week and eat mostly clean. Go for runs or walks. Do a 30 minute workout at the gym or at your house. You can Google or YouTube simple, effective exercises that do the job. Eat plenty of well-sourced meats and veggies. Grass-fed proteins and fresh plants. Farmers markets are havens. Avoid soda, sugar, and empty carbs. It may all be difficult and uncomfortable for the first few weeks, but if you just keep at it, you’ll never want to go back. You’ll feel like a human should feel; refreshed, energized, creative, mobile…
  5. We spend most of our time working and being with family and friends. Aside from all of this, find something that is completely and utterly yours. Find your thing. It’s you time. You love and appreciate everything else going for you in life, but I think everyone needs their own separate thing that’s just theirs. Martial arts. Yoga. Movie night. Book club. Piano. Swimming…Something where you can get into a flow state and just be with yourself or strangers who aren’t part of your everyday life.
  6. This one is tricky. We often abide by the sunk-cost fallacy when it comes to relationships. Because we’ve been friends with someone for 10 years, we feel like we must continue said friendship. People evolve, grow, and change their values. It is lovely when two friends evolve in a way that coincides with one another. Those relationships are the strongest. But it doesn’t always work that way. Someone you were best fucking friends with 5 years ago can feel like a total stranger today. Locate the friends in your life who you don’t look forward to seeing, having conversation with, supporting, and growing with…and fade them out of your life. You don’t have to hate them. You don’t have to never speak to them again. For some, a difficult conversation is needed. For others, a simple limitation of time spent with them will be enough. This will NOT be easy. It will be uncomfortable and sad and you’ll feel guilty and like a bad person. That’s okay. Understand that it’s for your own wellbeing, and do it in an open and honest way. If they don’t handle it well, you’ve done all that you could. Wish them well and keep growing.
  7. To end on a positive note, talk to your family members often. If you are lucky to have living parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles…pick up the phone and chat with them. It doesn’t have to be the most profound conversation in the world. But one day, that one relative will be dead; sooner than you would like. When that happens, one of the first thoughts you’ll have is how much effort you put into reaching out to them. Now is your time to take advantage of those opportunities before that sad day inevitably comes.

I’ll cheat and do an 8th: No hurry, no pause.

You don’t have to get from A to Z as quickly as you can, make as much money as you can in the next 2 years, or become the next this or that tomorrow. Enjoy the ride. Take your time. But at the same time, don’t stop pursuing what’s most important to you. No hurry, no pause.

Day 4: Your Billboard

4/30 – If you could put anything on a billboard, what would it say?

“Start. Suck. Keep going. Get better.”

I’m also reminded of one of my favorite memes:

“Injured? Go fuck yourself you injured piece of shit.”

Day 3: You Know More Than You Think You Do

3/30 – Share something you have recently learned:

About two months ago, I began giving life coaching sessions. There are an endless number of nuances and intricacies into what makes for a great coach; but at its heart, an extraordinary coach is one who coaches the person instead of the problem.

This is something I still struggle with, and it is applicable to our every day lives. No matter how logical, intelligent, or ‘correct’ you are…if an idea doesn’t come from someone else, that person most likely won’t do anything about it.

Making incredible choices and living a disciplined and prosperous life aren’t simply about knowing how to make them happen. We all know what to do…

Eat mostly well, exercise regularly, be kind to others, pursue things which interest you, spend less money than you make, put yourself out there, be grateful for what you have, focus on what you can control….

I can lay out perfect advice in a perfectly articulate way for someone, but if they don’t truly feel it…if the idea doesn’t come from within them, nothing will happen. That’s why so many people say out loud what they should be doing, yet at the same time are taking no action to actually do it.

What I’ve learned recently: Don’t get attached to solving someone’s problems for them. Only they can do so. Coach the person; not the problem.

Formula for Improvement

How to get better at anything…

Step 1: You suck

Step 2: You do it more

Step 3: You suck a little less.

Repeat until you quit or die.

How to Get in Shape

People want events, not process.

Events are sexy, process is not. Process is boring.

I can teach you how to get in great shape right now: Exercise three to five times per week. Eat fairly well. Limit sugar and simple carbs. Do that for a year. There you go.

People like results; but what lead to those results? Consistent, boring work.

What we see:

Watching Kobe put up 60 points in a game. Bill Burr’s latest stand-up special. Getting submitted by the super-skilled purple belt at your gym. Titus Andronicus on Broadway…

What we don’t see:

Kobe practicing his left-handed dribble and layups for two hours each day. Bill Burr writing, trying out new material at the clubs, and editing it for a year to perfect the timing and delivery. The years where that purple belt was a blue and white belt; getting tapped by anyone and everyone. The month(s) of rehearsal by the actors, director, costume designers, stage managers; where no one knew their lines or what the show would look like…

You can’t sell process. There are no entrepreneur Instagram memes telling you “Repeat a mundane but helpful task for 66 days straight until it becomes a habit…”

It sucks. It’s boring. But behind any worthwhile event…is an impeccable process.

Fulfillment Formula

Fulfillment = Improvement

Improvement = Difficult/Enjoyable Task x Time

Difficult, but enjoyable tasks can include: exercise, foreign languages, instruments, reading/writing, singing (yes, you can become a better singer), filmmaking, editing, sport, conversation…

Find something difficult you enjoy doing, do it consistently, and get better at it.

The Greatest Super Power in the World

…Is being able to acutely focus and worry about the things you can control, as opposed to the things you can’t.

I always laugh when I catch myself getting pissed that I’m in bad traffic (particularly when I’m running late to something). As if it’s happening to me. What kind of psycho takes being in traffic personally? Did these men close down a lane and begin working just to fuck with me? More importantly: is there anything–anything at all–I can do about being in traffic when I’m in it? No.

What can I do?

I can leave earlier next time to prepare for this possibility.

I can call/text whomever, tell them I’ll be late, and that I’m sorry.

I can play a podcast or an audiobook to take advantage of this time.

The ancient Chinese philosophy goes:

If you can’t do anything about it, there’s no use complaining;

If you can do something about it, do that thing.

Conversation, Silence, or Violence

I heard a brilliant phrase on a podcast last week coined by Alan Levinovitz. He and Joe Rogan were discussing the binary and divisive nature of American politics, and to illustrate Alan’s non-binary ways of thinking about major issues, he stated he feels “politically homeless.”

I couldn’t relate more.

When people ask if I’m liberal or conservative, I have no fucking clue what to say. Depending on the topic, I might lean left or I might lean right.

My centrist nature and love for nuance has resulted in liberal friends unfollowing me on social media, yelling and crying at me in the midst of a disagreement or debate, and people genuinely treating and speaking to me as if I am an immoral person.

My centrist nature and love for nuance has also resulted in conservative friends questioning my intelligence, claiming my emotions will forever cloud any objective ideas, and people genuinely treating and speaking to me as if I am an idiot.

Win win?

This is not to say that I deserve not to have people disagree with me. I’m an idiot when it comes to most things, so I know the world is doing something right if several people disagree with my words and ideas.

Whether a person leans more left or more right on an issue doesn’t really concern me. I don’t think we should care about what a person believes, so much as how they came to and process that belief.

As my ideas and logical/emotional processes have developed over the years, the scariest thing to me has been this: I hate how disagreements on major political and social issues change the way we see even our closest friends. I include myself in this phenomenon.

There’s a time and a place for everything; but it’s disappointing that fear of discomfort or debate or toxic FaceBook comment threads…make friends and family silent; holding their tongue so Grandma doesn’t start going off about Trump again.

I’m no expert (clearly), but it seems to me that the only path forward is true conversation. Listening to those who even vehemently disagree with you, being able to articulate where they are coming from, and learning from them–even if you don’t change your mind.

We all suffer from confirmation bias. We love talking to people and reading what we already agree with, further solidifying our deeply-held beliefs. We hate talking to people and reading what we disagree with, further solidifying our deeply-held beliefs.

This mediocre blog was not meant to attack any particular “side” or belief. However, this is a hill I’m willing to die on. We need more good-faith conversations. It’s between that, silence, or violence. I choose the former.

My Religion

I can’t recommend jiu jitsu enough to people. Martial arts in general are fantastic for the mind, body, and soul; but here are the specific benefits of doing jiu jitsu which I have experienced in a short time:

• Your size, athleticism, gender, race, intelligence…do no matter. Each and every person starts at zero. If a 5 ft girl has been practicing for a year, and a 6 ft male football player just started, she beats him 100% of the time. The only way to get better is by putting in the time and effort.

• It is a perfectly visible, tangible, real-time example of the learning process.

  1. You start; terrified and clueless, aggressive and egotistic.
  2. You suck; flailing around like a chicken, losing to anybody and everybody. This happens for a while.
  3. You doubt; it feels like everyone else is getting better and you’ll never move an inch.
  4. You keep going; gaining momentum from small wins in class and asking questions. Everyone is kind and helpful to you because every higher belt was where you are now. Always remember that.
  5. You improve; one day, something clicks, or it’s someone else’s first day and you get to tap them because they’re clueless. You feel great but you don’t have an ego about it because you got destroyed thousands of times before this point. “The mat is where egos go to die.”
  6. Repeat steps 2-5.

• The guys and gals you roll with become your brothers and sisters. I’ve found that intense struggle and learning are Gorilla Glue for relationships. You learn from, teach, and try to kill those you share the mat with. They try to kill you too, and when you’re an inch away from death, you tap their shoulder, they let you go, and you do it all over again.

Look up local jiu jitsu gyms in your area. It’s scary and overwhelming and intimidating at first, but it will most likely be one of the greatest decisions you’ll ever make.

You Don’t Need Discipline

A person works out 5 times a week, eats super clean, has a solid daily and weekly schedule, runs their own business, and reads 20 pages every day.

You could look at this person and think, “Wow, they’re incredibly disciplined.”

But in my quest for a more structured life over the years, I’ve realized the inaccuracy of that statement.

You don’t need to be disciplined to do great things every day, you just need enough discipline to build great habits so the work takes care of itself.

When was the last time you mustered up the motivation to brush your teeth? You just did it without thinking about it, right? We can automate anything to this degree.

When I wake up at 6am, do my morning routine, and go to the gym for two hours, it’s not because I am this disciplined God who is better than most people…It’s simply because I’ve been doing it for months and months and now it is built into my brain as a habit. It’s easier to do it than it is to think about doing it.

You could read that and go, “That’s nice Dillan. Good for you…” as if it was this effortless process.

Building strong habits is uncomfortable. We often doubt that we can really do it, especially before we see any real results.

Most people quit on developing a strong habit because the hill of discomfort makes them forget about how amazing it will feel when they get over the hill and the ball is just rolling by itself.

Get over that hill. Once you do, you won’t have to work nearly as hard.

My Feet Become the Sand

Why do we learn so much about ourselves when we spend quality time in nature? How does the stillness of the trees and running water answer so many questions we don’t even know we have?

I spent the weekend camping on a beautiful farm with a friend. After two nights by the fire and a day in the woods, we both admitted an extreme increase in levels of clarity–of our thoughts, of our fears, and of where we were in life.

One need not go camping in a tent to experience such mindfulness. Spending time next to trees, shrubbery, a garden, etc; you quickly realize that with no phone or outside distractions, you have no choice but to conquer the present moment.

The trees don’t care about your goals. The wind doesn’t care about your insecurities. All of your mistakes and anxieties…you are forced to realize that each and every one of them lives in your head. There is no escape. This can be terrifying to people, but it is unquestionably therapeutic, like a cleanse.

Spend more time in nature. Go for a walk. Be with your thoughts. As awful as they can be, looking for them will show you that they are merely ghosts.

Responsibility, Accountability

Responsibility: “I made a mistake and it was my fault.”

Accountability: “I will learn from this mistake and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

In order to make real progress, you need both, in that order.

Starting Over

This week, I had Carlos Catania on my podcast. He’s a fourth degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

As he took me through his journey through the belt system, he made a simple claim which completely changed the way I see improvement.

He said that each time he progressed to the next belt–purple belt to brown belt for example–he wasn’t climbing the totem pole; he was starting over.

“You may be the best purple belt in the tournament; beating everybody, winning every time…but once you get that brown belt, you’re the worst brown belt in the group. You’re starting over.”

This pattern continues even at the highest levels. Again, he is a fourth degree black belt (training for about 25 years), and admits he still has much to learn and that there are plenty of grapplers out there who could destroy him.

We can take this lesson and implement it in any skill we wish to improve.

I feel my content is improving: my videos are looking better, the podcast is sounding more captivating, my website looks more organized…With all of this, it literally feels as though I have ‘leveled up.’

But all evidence from the past tells me each time I feel this way, once the high is over, I feel the greatest amount of Resistance I’ve felt yet. Once that ‘tier’ is reached, the standards and responsibilities to maintain those standards ascend as well.

When you get better at something, you want to be consistent with your new skills and abilities. This experience can be inspiring, crippling, euphoric, and agonizing all at the same time.

The pain doesn’t go away. Learn to love it. Each time you get better, you’re just starting over.

Very Very Good

The tides ebb and flow. This past week, there were a few days where I felt stagnant in my business and personal life. I felt unmotivated and sluggish. I was on a low.

Yesterday, I recorded an amazing podcast that I can’t wait to publish, I posted an episode with my Brazilian JiuJitsu coach which I absolutely love, I made serious progress on my new website (releasing soon), and one of my best friends called me and we talked for 2 hours.

Recognize that life is lived in highs and lows. Appreciate and learn from both. Don’t attach yourself to either. Whatever state you’re in right now will not last.

Nothing very very good or very very bad ever lasts for very very long.”
-Unknown

College Dropout Who Sucks With Computers

Man, this sounds so cliche; but you really can learn how to do anything.

I’ve stated countless times in my life: I struggle with retaining information; I’m not a tech guy; I’m not business savvy. This is all following the fixed mindset.

The only reason these claims were true was because they paralyzed me with fear so I didn’t even try to debunk them. It’s like saying, “I suck at drawing,” but never trying to practice it. Yeah, of course you suck at drawing. You don’t draw!

In the past two weeks, I have started my own business, taught myself basic coding languages, built two new websites, and learned a new video-editing software.

This is not a brag. The point is: there’s nothing special about me. I don’t have some innate talent or skill. The fixed mindset says that some people can and some people can’t. That’s bullshit.

All of these things came to me simply from intentionally placing my time and energy into them. Anyone can do it; even a college dropout who sucks with computers.

Questions are the Answer

Our brains are wired to forget things.

In Jim Kwik’s book Limitless, he offers the 3 questions to ask in order to remember what you read; but these questions are applicable in everyday life as well:

1) How can I use this?

2) Why must I use this?

3) When will I use this?

Creatures of Habit

Every single thing we do is based on habits.

You can read and internalize these words because at some point, you developed the habit of looking at these 26 symbols and progressively comprehended them.

When your friend calls calls you, you don’t think “Whoa. My phone is making noise. My friend’s name is appearing on my phone. There’s a green and a red button. I will touch the green button to answer this call from my friend…” No. You just answer the damn phone without processing information. That’s because you’ve done it so many times that you’ve now developed a habit.

Have you ever rearranged the apps on your phone? You probably noticed that for the first few days, you naturally touch the areas where your most used apps used to be.

Obviously, receiving a call and reorganizing your phone are a lot easier than developing strong fitness and productivity habits; but our incredible brains provide us with an incomparable opportunity. If we put enough time and effort into something, eventually our brains will start thinking about it less and less. Once the habit is formed, it is no longer something you have to process. It’s just something you do…like being able to read these sentences.

Teaching Yourself…

…is fucking hard.

Learning is difficult to measure, so it’s tricky to grasp where you stand in the midst of teaching yourself new skills until you can apply them.

This week, I began teaching myself principles of design, various video editing tasks, and chess endgames. Interestingly, I found many lessons which can be carried through all three of these.

The biggest takeaways from this week have been:

• Creating well-defined goals in learning is essential. “What gets measured gets managed.” The goal can’t be “learn more web design…” What do you want to be able to do at the end of today that you couldn’t do yesterday?

• Trying to juggle multiple learning/practice sessions in the span of a few hours is a recipe for chaos and unproductive sloppiness. There was one day where in two hours: I read an article on design theories, edited a section of a YouTube video, brainstormed for a podcast, and went through two online chess lessons…At the end of those two hours, I didn’t feel accomplished; I felt confused. Batching learning into hours of deep, undistracted (no phone) focus is the most effective and satisfying way to develop our knowledge.

• Despite the difficulty, teaching yourself things is incredibly rewarding; and once you sit down for about ten minutes, you get lost in the flow of adventure.

Learn good.

2 Big Things

Since I started getting my shit together, the two most powerful shifts in mindset which have allowed me to live a happy and healthy life are:

1) I am not a victim. We all go through shit and that shit varies in size and duration. It makes no sense to compare my shit to someone else’s shit. None of us control our genes or environments we are raised in. If we consistently ask why things are happening to us, we relinquish control and let life toss us around.
”Life is happening for us; not to us.”

2) Learning is growing; not fixed. In the past, if I was bad at something, or if it didn’t come naturally to me, I would say “Oh, I’m just not that person.” I’m not a math guy. I’m an idiot when it comes to business. I’m dumb because I didn’t do well on this test…This is a fixed mindset, and we teach it to kids at an early age. We tell them they are ‘smart’ because they aced a test instead of praising how hard they worked to get that grade. The growth mindset argues that if we simply put in enough time and effort: not only will we improve, but we will get way more satisfaction out of our accomplishments because we learn to love the process of working for things.

Sweating and Stretching

Last night, I was doing some evening yoga. Typically, this means following along with a 45-minute YouTube video.

Towards the end of the practice, I had to sit in a wide-legged stance; leaning forward and then to either side to reach for a foot. It was misery. I began sweating, shaking, and found that I became genuinely offended that this flexible bitch would ask me to do such a thing. I just wanted to go back to the poses I was good at.

I immediately caught myself.

Just because someone is asking something of you that you can’t do (or at least can’t do well), doesn’t mean you can’t work to get there. Hell, she can do it.

It also reminded me how easily our egos get fired up. I felt like a boss doing stretches and poses well and moving with the breath; but the second I had to do something I was not adept at, my confidence dropped off and I began to feel angry with the practice.

Stretching is uncomfortable, but it’s the only path to flexibility.

Deliberate Practice vs Free-Play

One of the keys to improving in anything is finding the balance between deliberate practice and free-play.

Deliberate practices are the essential, fundamental elements of a given craft or skill. It’s the grunt work. It’s unsexy, and usually incredibly boring. E.g. practicing scales on piano, studying Spanish with flash cards, hitting mitts in boxing, swimming laps…

Free-play is much more loose; the practitioner has the freedom to experiment and have fun. It’s also typically the time in which it’s easier for someone to enter a flow-state (i.e. where one’s body seems to simply be doing the work without them thinking about it). E.g. jamming and improvising on piano, having a conversation in Spanish, sparring, swimming in a lake with your buddies…

The dichotomy between deliberate practice and free-play is not always black and white. How does one deliberately practice reading or conversation? Some practices will require creativity.

Nevertheless, the two need and feed off one another. The sharper one’s fundamentals, the sharper their instincts are during play. Deliberate practice makes free-play stronger and smoother, and vise-versa.

In improving a skill, it is vital to find an effective balance between these two types of training.

Perhaps:
30 minutes of deliberate practice, then 30 minutes of free-play; or

30 minutes of deliberate practice today, then 30 minutes of free-play tomorrow

The key is to not interweave the two. One often practices deliberately for 5 minutes, gets bored, then begins playing freely. This might be more enjoyable, but it hinders growth. One should remain locked in on the task at hand, find a balance which suits them, and rock on.

MindHive

My good friend—and most recent podcast guest—Colin Smith, along with his partner Chris Varano, run a blog in which they peruse through simple and effective methods for one to live a more optimal life.

With Colin studying psychology and Eastern philosophy, and Chris working in the medical field…the two combine their technical and spiritual perspectives for how we can improve our mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.

I imagine we will be doing several more collaborations in the future.

Check out their incredibly important work here: MindHive.Online

Forgetting

It’s fairly common that I’ll have a day where I don’t feel like being organized or disciplined. I’ll question if being strict with my diet or having a routine each morning and evening is really making me happy. Spoiler alert…it is.

What is actually happening is that I’m stuck in the moment of discomfort and I’m forgetting or losing sight of the long-term satisfaction of having my shit together.

It’s a slow, arduous process which rarely sees results. But when the results reveal themselves, it’s like uncovering gold.

Stick to the process, especially when you don’t want to. Don’t forget.

Stretch

Perhaps it’s my competitive nature which makes me want to be really good at whatever I’m doing. In the past however, this desire led me to quitting things after the first sign of heavy resistance. I’ve since acquired the skill of pushing through resistance head-on to get to the level I want to be.

Most of what we want can be achieved. The issue is that it takes long periods of discomfort and stretching ourselves to get there. So most of us quit.

For a literal example: If you have one intense stretching session, you won’t be able to do a split afterward. You could though, if you instead did a 10-minute stretching session everyday for a year.

Play the long game. Battle resistance everyday. It doesn’t go away.

You Never Forget Your First

I follow several entrepreneurship and finance/motivational Instagram pages (because that’s obviously the key to getting rich). Most posts are cheesy but here’s one I truly love:

Your first podcast will be awful.
Your first video will be awful.
Your first article or blog will be awful.
Your first art will be awful.
Your first photo will be awful.
Your first scene will be awful…
But you can’t make your 50th without making your first.
So get it over with, and make it.

Disagreeing

You’ll never agree with anyone 100% of the time. Disagreeing with someone is an inevitable and necessary phenomenon. Yet so many of us treat disagreements as if they are gearing up for battle.

It’s difficult at times to support your ideas while being patient and respectful, but it’s what is needed.

Try not to attack people, but their ideas instead.

Try not to question what people think, but how they think.

Should You Go to College?

Near the end of my high school career, I was asked countless times what my plans were after graduation. Without skipping a beat I would respond, “I’m going to college [duh].”

It was set in stone. I refused to go to the nearby, highly-ranked community college where I could knock out my bullshit general education credits, figure out what I wanted to do, and save thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars…I refused to stay back and work and develop and grow myself to discover what I was passionate about and what I could bring to the table.

No. I had to go to a four year university—a place where I could get the full college experience. Why? Not because I was a great student (I was a terrible student). Not because I had a school in mind which specialized in the field I was interested in (I had no clue what I wanted from my life). Not to make my resume look juicier (I refuse to work somewhere where they care more about a place I went to school than my personality or my unique qualities). I had to go to college simply because it’s what you do.

The only reason I went to university was to avoid looking like a loser. I didn’t want to be the only one of my close friend group to stay back at mom’s house while all my buddies were getting ‘smarter,’ doing molly at parties they weren’t invited to, having sex, and making newer and more interesting relationships. But most of all, I didn’t want to disappoint my family. Consisting of mostly traditional and conservative thinkers, my family stressed the importance of an education…and we never had a conversation where the subject of school didn’t take the driver seat.

But here’s what happened: My college career ended in failure—on paper and emotionally. Like I said, I was a shit student. Why did I think anything would drastically get better when you took away supervision, gave me access to drugs and alcohol, and threw me into a system in which I never wanted to be in in the first place?

Everything I just said sounds so incredibly arrogant and I’m aware of that. I take full responsibility for my lack of success in academia. My point is that I was a child. I understand that we need to send kids off to learn about themselves and solve problems on their own at some point. My thesis is not that college is evil. College is a beautiful choice for specific fields or if you truly want to continue your education. I don’t want a surgeon operating on me who Googled how to do the operation the night before.

What I disagree with is this: College isn’t the only way. It shouldn’t be pushed as the only option for a successful and satisfying life. It’s not even the best way, not for everybody. We all have different passions with various mechanics of learning. Personally, I laugh when I think about the amount of hours I spent trying to gather information by sitting in a class, listening to a lecturer, and taking notes on something I didn’t care about and didn’t remember a month later. That’s not me.

And I get it. Having a degree can make someone feel accomplished and I don’t want to demean or belittle that for anyone. It can certainly show someone that you have enough grit to complete the schooling system.

But what else can prove that you’re worth hiring over the next person? How great you are at communicating with people? How quickly you learn and adapt? How passionate you are and how willing you are to go above and beyond? How easily you lead and inspire people? Do we need college for all of this? For some people, sure. But it’s undeniable that we can find these phenomenal qualities outside the classroom. I just know too many people who work lovely, fulfilling jobs, making excellent money, who didn’t put themselves in $40,000 of debt for a piece of paper which says they’re more talented than others.

I understand I have a biased opinion. But that’s exactly what I’m writing about. It didn’t work for me. Sure, I could’ve worked harder and cared more. What I’m saying is I didn’t. I was a child. A child in a big school of children and I was told to “figure my life out” and I had no fucking clue. I made childish decision after childish decision until it caught up to me and blew up in my face. Then I had to go back to square one—mom’s house.

It was like I went back to high school and it was depressing. But here’s the thing: I’ve learned more about myself and the world in these two years being back at mom’s than I ever did in a classroom. About 30 times more. I’ve had time to pursue my curiosity, find my passions, read and learn about the world, have disorganized and sloppy conversations, make mistakes, and develop myself as a person and an intellect.

If anyone in academia reads this, please leave with this:

I respect each and every hard-working soul who fights for the education of those next in line. I would never bash a teacher, student, or parent who is thrilled that their kid got into college or made Dean’s list. Schooling is a beautiful and safe way to secure a structure for yourself. It can be a great tool…I just resent the idea that it is the only tool…the idea which was pumped into my head and the heads of countless others.

So Good

We can get a ton of satisfaction by being really fucking good at what we do.

Many of us are okay with being mediocre out of some lazy mindset…But if you went a month being the absolute best you could be (at anything: your work, side hustle, passion project, sport, exercise, basic discipline), you’d be so incredibly happy and fulfilled that you’d feel like a different person.

It won’t be easy by any stretch. But you’ll crawl out the end of it feeling like a superhero.

Be Interested

The most interesting people on the planet are the people who are the most interested. Habit #5 of Covey’s Seven Habits is Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

A small personal example: People began asking me way more questions when I started my podcast. I started the podcast because I am incredibly intrigued by other people and their passions and accomplishments.

There’s a ton of research that shows you instantly become more interesting, more likable, easier to talk to, etc…if you show interest in other people and the world around you, and if you let other people talk about what they’re interested in.

”Even our friends would much rather talk to us about their achievements than listen to us boast about ours.
La Rochefoucauld, the French philosopher said: ‘If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.’
Why is that true? Because when our friends excel us, they feel important; but when we excel them, they—or at least some of them—will feel inferior and envious.”
– Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Strengthen Your Muscles

We often see our abilities as stagnant. “I’m not musically gifted.” “I could never stick to an exercise routine.” “That’s just not me…” This is (as I seem to begin many of my posts) bullshit.

We are all vastly different with various knacks and talents and brain chemistries. But nothing is set in stone. The only reason people don’t change is because they believe they can’t.

Discipline, trying new and scary things, building habits, being patient, being grateful for the beautiful things you have in your life…these are all skills which can be practiced and improved. Think of them like muscles. One bicep curl doesn’t give you a well-defined arm. However, many biceps curls done consistently and with great form, combined with a number of other arm/back/shoulder workouts, and you’ll start seeing your arms get bigger and more toned.

Don’t get discouraged when you see people pick something up quicker than you are able to. All skills are learnable and all skills are trainable. I literally had to purposely teach myself how to be disciplined. I sucked at it at first. And now, I’m one of the more disciplined people I know. You can do the same.